Northern California Counties


Del Norte:

Currently, there is a ban in this county


Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on March 10, 2015 adopt a medical marijuana cultivation ordinance. After a second reading and vote, the ordinance went into effect on May 7.

Under the rules, 6 mature OR 12 immature plants can be grown on parcels less than one acre; 12 mature or 16 immature plants can be grown on parcels between one and 20 acres; and for parcels 20 acres and larger, 24 mature or 36 immature plants are permitted. The ordinance includes setbacks for plants and generators, a decibel limit for generators, and a screening requirement for plants. Properties used for cultivation must be occupied by a Siskiyou County resident, with a legally established residence on the property that’s connected to a county-approved wastewater disposal system and a legally established water source. Read more.

By Danielle Jester

Posted May. 5, 2016 at 10:26 AM


Sheriff Jon Lopey met with the Siskiyou Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, both to discuss a $70,000 stipend which the Drug Enforcement Administration granted to the sheriff’s office for use in eradicating marijuana plants used for illicit purposes and to present a marijuana and major drug update.

Lopey stated that the stipend, which is typically granted each year to the sheriff’s office to aid in the effort to combat illegal marijuana grows within the county, will primarily go toward aerial operations, specifically helicopter flyovers for the purpose of illicit cannabis cultivation reconnaissance. Lopey noted that larger commercial grows are the priority. “The cultivation problem has increased exponentially in both private and public land areas,” Lopey stated, “so I think we’ll be very busy this year.” Lopey repeatedly emphasized that the sheriff’s department and marijuana eradication teams were only targeting marijuana grows which were for commercial and trafficking purposes, and that eradication does not involve those growing legally for medical use.

The board unanimously approved the DEA contract. In reference to frustration from some board members at the fact that last year’s DEA grant was not used in full, Lopey said he is confident that this year’s funds will be completely expended in ridding illegal grows.

In his drug update that followed, Lopey was clear about his view of the county’s drug problems. Though his presentation listed meth, heroin and prescription drugs as “major challenges” in the county, Lopey pointedly posited, “Right now, marijuana is the number one health, justice, environmental and fiscal threat to Siskiyou County, my department and the citizens we serve,” reasoning that this was so due to the prevalence of illicit marijuana activity and his observance the it is “spreading like wildfire.”

Lopey presented a powerpoint which cited a number of figures relating to arrests made and plants seized by the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office last year in cases of illicit marijuana growing and possession. The figures included 11,101 cannabis plants seized, 18 search warrants served, 36 arrests and 20 criminal filings pending, five honey oil labs seized and 2,993 pounds of processed pot seized.

The environmental threat of large-scale cannabis cultivation was touched on numerous times throughout the discussion. Lopey cited many factors in what he called a “huge environmental impact” made by such grows including illegal fertilizers contaminating watersheds, water trucks tearing up roads, and the use of illegal pesticides and rodenticides. “People’s lives are being transformed and they are scared,” the sheriff said in reference to people living in areas with a large influx of individuals growing illegally, like Shasta Vista and Klamath River Country Estates.

Multiple KRCE residents came forward during the public comment portion of the agenda item and described what they deemed suspicious activity related to growing in their neighborhood, including a significant increase in the number of out of state vehicles present, as well as properties being occupied by trailers and porta potties, indicating the inhabitants did not intend to settle permanently in the area.

The proposed marijuana ordinance, the fate of which will be decided by county voters in the June 7th election, was brought up frequently. Lopey conceded that Siskiyou County is “a little vulnerable because our ordinance is less restrictive.” He also acknowledged that the county has relatively limited resources to combat the cannabis issues. This, Lopey stated, along with weather and terrain factors, make Siskiyou County appear “lucrative” to growers.

The board engaged in an exchange with Lopey as to what the county’s recourse would be in tackling the illicit cannabis issue. While there are currently three drug task forces in place to deal with illegal activity in the cannabis realm, Lopey informed the board that the SCSO is currently understaffed by four deputies. He agreed with the board’s view that more full time officers should be hired to assist in the marijuana eradication effort.

The board called for Lopey to work with County Administrator Terry Barber in developing a hiring proposal and to enlist the help of District Attorney Kirk Andrus in prosecuting those breaking current county marijuana laws. Lopey and Barber agreed to present a proposal to the board by the May 17 supervisors meeting at the latest.

Lopey said he feels county lawmakers and law enforcement must work together to communicate the message that “Siskiyou County is a beautiful county and we welcome all people, but not when you come here to commit crimes.” Still, he let his worries be known, and communicated, “If we don’t get a handle on this and some reasonable control, we’re going lose it and we won’t get it back.”

The 4 page Performance Standards for Cultivation and Processing Operations is located at Performance Standards

POSTED: 6:43 PM May 05 201

EUREKA,Calif. –A marijuana researcher at Humboldt State University said there’s still a lot we don’t know about cannabis, but hopes with legalization more research will be possible.

A coalition of supporters to legalize recreational marijuana announced Wednesday that it had collected 600,000 signatures from registered voters for a ballot measure. It only needed 365,000 before the July 5 deadline.

The ballot initiative, which is backed by Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, would allow for possession of one ounce of marijuana and cultivation of six marijuana plants for adults 21 and older. It would also place a 15 percent tax on retail sales of the drug.

Dr. Josh Meisel, the co-director of the Humboldt Institute of Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research, said this initiative is long overdue in California.

“Some of the stigma around cannabis has declined,” Meisel said. “It’s become more main streamed, more expectable (sic) and so it’s not surprising it’s going to be on the ballot.”

Dr. Josh Meisel said it’s a good thing that California wasn’t one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. He said California can learn from other states like Washington and Colorado on how to better create laws so the Golden State doesn’t run into the same issues they did.

Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey said it really won’t make much of a difference for its agency. He said the biggest issue that marijuana brings to Humboldt County are illegal grows.

Sheriff Downey said recreational marijuana use could affect the incarceration rate for possession of marijuana, but that’s to be determined. At the end of the day, he said if it’s passed that is the will of the people.

“As the chief law enforcing officer of the county, I believe that if it is passed by the voters that we will do as best we can to implement that,” Sheriff Downey said. “And to be cognoscente of the parameters within the confines of that initiative.”

Sheriff Downey said the sheriff’s office will discuss the initiative and different courses of action for its department in the future.

Trinidad City – Trinidad’s City Council passed a resolution limiting the number of medical and retail marijuana business locations that could legally operate within city limits. By a five to two vote, after a public hearing, council approved limiting the number of marijuana businesses to a total of 20 locations within the city, with Council members Pat Fletcher and Carlos Lopez dissenting.

The new rules don’t apply to any medical or retail marijuana business location that’s already been approved by the city council, or any such business that’s started the licensing process by May 1, 2016. The rules also wouldn’t apply to license renewals for such businesses. The numerical limitation on locations will only apply to medical marijuana centers and retail marijuana store licenses, and will not affect product manufacturing or cultivation operations. The city’s deadline for new marijuana-related Conditional Use Permits (CUPs) is 11: 59 p.m. on Sunday, May 1, either in print or online applications. After that date, the city will no longer accept any new marijuana-related CUP applications, until such time as the number of marijuana business locations operating in the city falls below the number of 20.

Written By Steve Block



Work to begin on marijuana zoning ordinance
Posted: November 11, 2015
With state law setting forth a licensing framework and broad oversight of medical marijuana activities, Trinity County supervisors have set their Planning Commission to work quickly on drafting a new ordinance to control commercial marijuana cultivation in the county based on local land use and zoning classifications


Planners finalize marijuana proposal
Posted: April 13, 2016
Calling it a milestone for Trinity County, marijuana growers filling the hall last week for a special meeting of the county Planning Commission got most of what they’ve asked for in the commission’s final recommendations for an interim county ordinance permitting commercial medical marijuana cultivation and processing here while state licensing requirements are finalized over the next two years.

Cannabis compliance workshops set
Posted: April 13, 2016
The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board is holding compliance workshops designed to provide individuals who are just learning about the Cannabis Waste Discharge program an introduction and overview to new laws, to answer questions from both current and prospective enrollees, and to provide an opportunity for all cultivators to learn about current best management practices and techniques that can be applied to their operations

Cannabis eradication grant

Posted: April 27, 2016
Though there’s been a decline in the amount of federal funding for local law enforcement efforts targeting illegal marijuana cultivation, the Trinity County Board of Supervisors last week approved an agreement to receive $80,000 from the Drug Enforcement Administration of the U.S. Department of Justice for the Domestic Cannabis Eradication Suppression Program in 2016.

Cannabis tax clears first hurdle
Posted: April 27, 2016
Assemblyman Jim Wood’s proposed marijuana excise tax AB 2243 was approved by the Assembly Revenue and Tax Committee last week 5-0 with Republicans not voting.

Specialty license proposed for small farm cannabis growers
Posted: April 27, 2016
Assemblyman Jim Wood’s “Cottage Cannabis Farmers” bill passed through the Assembly Agriculture Committee earlier this month. AB 2516 will create a new cannabis cultivator license for “micro farmers.”

Information via Trinity Journal


Sungrown in Shasta and other grassroots groups, aided by the California Cannabis Coalition, turned in an estimated 13,080 signatures on February 27, 2014 to repeal the outdoor cultivation ban in Shasta. Despite a heroic effort, Measure A carried and so the ordinance the Shasta County Board of Supervisors voted in on January 29, 2014 is now in effect.

The ordinance states, “Cultivation may only occur on a Premises within a detached residential accessory structure affixed to the real property that meets the definition of “Indoor,” or “Greenhouse,” that is located on the same Premises as the Residence of a Qualified Patient(s) or a Primary Caregiver(s), and that complies with all of the provisions of the Shasta County Code relating to accessory structures…”

“Greenhouse” is defined as an accessory structure to a Residence located on the same Premises, legally established with all required permits approved, constructed primarily of translucent glass or glass-like material (or other similar material approved by the Director of Resource Management), completely enclosed with one or more secure locking doors as the only means of ingress and egress, where plants are grown. Read more.

The Shasta county sheriff has said he is enforcing the new ordinance immediately and advises all outdoor growers to harvest their plants. Read more.

The county ordinance affects unincorporated areas of Shasta; Anderson, Redding and Shasta Lake have their own rules.

Information from CANORML


On the Agenda for the meeting on 4/26/16 is the following: HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES PUBLIC HEALTH SUBJECT: Proposed Revisions to Smoking Pollution Control Ordinance to Address the Use of Electronic Cigarettes. FISCAL IMPACT: No fiscal impact is anticipated. ACTION REQUESTED: Either (1) introduce by title and read (or waive the reading of) the proposed Ordinance amending Ordinance 501A Regulating Smoking in County Buildings and Vehicles, or (2) provide direction to staff.

Per Board of Supervisors website the current ordinance:

The board of supervisors of the county of Lassen hereby finds and declares the following:

(a)   In 1996, the voters of the state of California approved Proposition 215 (codified as California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5 and entitled “The Compassionate Use Act of 1996”).

(b)  The intent of Proposition 215 was to enable persons who are in need of marijuana for medical purposes to use it without fear of criminal prosecution under limited, specified circumstances. The proposition further provides that “nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede legislation prohibiting persons from engaging in conduct that endangers others, or to condone the diversion of marijuana for non-medical purposes.” The ballot arguments supporting Proposition 215 expressly acknowledged that “Proposition 215 does not allow unlimited quantities of marijuana to be grown anywhere.”

(c)   In 2004, the Legislature enacted Senate Bill 420 (codified as California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.7 et seq., and referred to as the “Medical Marijuana Program”) to clarify the scope of Proposition 215, and to provide qualifying patients and primary caregivers who collectively or cooperatively cultivate marijuana for medical purposes with a limited defense to certain specified state criminal statutes. Assembly Bill 2650 (2010) and Assembly Bill 1300 (2011) amended the Medical Marijuana Program to expressly recognize the authority of counties and cities to “[a]dopt local ordinances that regulate the location, operation, or establishment of a medical marijuana cooperative or collective” and to civilly and criminally enforce such ordinances.

(d)  Health and Safety Code Section 11362.83, both as originally enacted, and as amended by Assembly Bill 1300, further recognize that counties and cities may also adopt and enforce any other ordinances that are consistent with the Medical Marijuana Program.

(e)   The courts in California have held that neither the Compassionate Use Act nor the Medical Marijuana Program grants anyone an unfettered right to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes or limits the inherent authority of a local jurisdiction, by its own ordinances, to regulate the use of its land. Accordingly, the regulation of cultivation of medical marijuana does not conflict with either statute. (See Browne v. County of Tehama (2013) 213 Cal. App. 4th 704 and City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center, Inc. (2013) 56 Cal. 4th 729.)

(f)   Proposition 215 and Senate Bill 420 primarily address the criminal law, providing qualifying patients and primary caregivers with limited immunity from state criminal prosecution under certain identified statutes. Neither Proposition 215 nor Senate Bill 420, nor the Attorney General’s August 2008 Guidelines for the Security and Non-Diversion of Marijuana Grown for Medical Use adopted pursuant to Senate Bill 420, provide comprehensive regulation of premises used for marijuana cultivation. The unregulated cultivation of marijuana in the unincorporated area of Lassen County can adversely affect the health, safety, and well-being of the county and its residents. Comprehensive regulation of premises used for marijuana cultivation is proper and necessary to avoid the risks of criminal activity, degradation of the natural environment, malodorous smells, and indoor electrical fire hazards that may result from unregulated marijuana cultivation, and that are especially significant if the amount of marijuana cultivated on a single premises is not regulated and substantial amounts of marijuana are thereby allowed to be concentrated in one place.

(g)   Cultivation of any amount of marijuana at locations or premises within one thousand feet of existing schools, public parks, and licensed day care facilities creates unique risks that the marijuana plants may be observed by juveniles, and therefore be especially vulnerable to theft or recreational consumption by juveniles. Further, the potential for criminal activities associated with marijuana cultivation in such locations poses heightened risks that juveniles will be involved or endangered. Therefore, cultivation of any amount of marijuana in such locations or premises is especially hazardous to public safety and welfare, and to the protection of children and the person(s) cultivating the marijuana plants.

(h)  As recognized by the Attorney General’s August 2008 Guidelines for the Security and Non­Diversion of Marijuana Grown for Medical Use, the cultivation or other concentration of marijuana in any location or premises without adequate security increases the risk that surrounding homes or businesses may be negatively impacted by nuisance activity such as loitering or crime.

(i)   It is the purpose and intent of this title to implement state law by providing a means for regulating the cultivation of medical marijuana in a manner that is consistent with state law and which balances the needs of medical patients and their caregivers and promotes the health, safety, and welfare of the residents and businesses within the unincorporated territory of the county of Lassen. This title is intended to be consistent with Proposition 215 and Senate Bill 420, and towards that end, is not intended to prohibit persons from individually, collectively, or cooperatively exercising any right otherwise granted by state law. Rather, the intent and purpose of this title is to establish reasonable regulations upon the manner in which marijuana may be cultivated, including restrictions on the amount of marijuana that may be individually, collectively, or cooperatively cultivated in any location or premises, in order to protect the public health, safety, and welfare in Lassen County.

(j)   The limited immunity from specified state marijuana laws provided by the Compassionate Use Act and Medical Marijuana Program does not confer the right to create or maintain a public nuisance. By adopting the regulations contained in this title, the county will achieve a significant reduction in the aforementioned harms caused or threatened by the unregulated cultivation of marijuana in the unincorporated area of Lassen County.

(k)  Nothing in this title shall be construed to allow the use of marijuana for non-medical purposes, or allow any activity relating to the cultivation, distribution, or consumption of marijuana that is otherwise illegal under state or federal law. No provision of this title is to be deemed a defense or immunity to  any action brought against any person by the Lassen County district attorney, the Attorney General of the state of California, or the United States of America through the United States Attorney.

(l)   The Lassen County board of supervisors received substantial testimony over the course of several months related to the impacts upon the peace, health, and safety of the residents of Lassen County as a result of the indoor and outdoor cultivation of marijuana. Specifically, the board finds and declares that Lassen County does not currently have in place an ordinance which attempts to mitigate these impacts. As a result of not having such an ordinance, Lassen County is an attractive place for marijuana growers to come and grow in large quantities unregulated. It has already been established to the Lassen County board of supervisors by substantial evidence that large marijuana grows are occurring in some of Lassen County’s densely populated communities. Even in some of the less populated areas of Lassen County, the board of supervisors received substantial testimony that marijuana grows are impacting the communities in which they occur. These impacts include, but are not limited to, malodorous smell, damage to water supply, invitation to criminal activity, attractive nuisance to children, and exposure to dangerous pesticides, at a minimum. Because of the impacts associated with these grows, and the other impacts supported by substantial testimony, the proposition that the marijuana growing season is about to start, the board finds and declares that urgent action is necessary, within the meaning of Government Code Section 25123(d) to immediately preserve the peace, health and safety of its residents. (Ord. 2015-001 § 1).


Revised cannabis cultivation permits will not be available in Mendocino County until October at the earliest, the county’s Marijuana Ad Hoc Committee announced during the April 18 Board of Supervisors meeting. County Chief Planner Andy Gustavson explained the delay was needed to address procedural concerns over environmental impacts and zoning changes. The Board of Supervisors heard several hours of discussion about revising Mendocino’s cannabis cultivation ordinance from a packed chamber.

Before the full Board of Supervisors heard suggestions from the Ad Hoc Committee and the public, Gustavson explained that the currently proposed draft regulations will require compliance with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) regulations to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the ordinance. Gustavson estimated that process, which requires review by the planning department and a public comment period, would take between five and six months on an “aggressive” schedule without delays.

Supervisors directed staff to research whether a temporary program could be put in place for this year, and to research several other cannabis cultivation issues to report back to the board by May 16.

Marijuana Ad Hoc Committee Supervisors Tom Woodhouse and John McCowen had previously said they hoped to complete by June to all county residents to apply for permits for this year’s growing season, a concern raised by many growers at Monday’s meeting.

Woodhouse stated the Marijuana Ad Hoc committee had attempted to draft an ordinance that would avoid lawsuits over environmental concerns, but he believes “it takes time” to address all the nuances and complications that have arisen in committee research, as well as to develop licenses for all the different business types now allowed by the state. The Marijuana Ad Hoc Committee was formed in early 2015 and was working on redrafting the ordinance even before the passage of new comprehensive state regulations last fall. Several in the audience questioned why the committee had not previously considered the timeline required for CEQA approval.

Many testifying during the public comment period requested supervisors seek a temporary or emergency program to allow cultivators to have some kind of regulatory coverage during this year’s outdoor cultivation season while they pursue compliance with other regulatory agencies, such as the regional water board, to establish fully legal cultivation businesses.

Some proposed a return to the previous 9.31 “zip-tie” 99 plant program as a temporary solution or a program such as Humboldt County’s, which local cultivator Casey O’Neill said offered farmers protection from criminal enforcement after supplying the county a notice of intent for licensure.

Several cultivators and several attorneys expressed fears that cannabis farmers who are spending significant amounts on fulfilling water board environmental requirements and other regulations will still be subject to law enforcement actions from the Mendocino County Sheriff if they had no legal protection from the county. They argued a lack of revised county regulations would be a deterrent for those seeking to come into compliance, as well as leaving business owners vulnerable for the investments they are currently putting into their cultivation sites in anticipation of an expanded legal market.

One ongoing source of controversy about the revised ordinance is a proposal from the Ad Hoc Committee that cultivation licenses this season for larger grows be administered by the Sheriff’s office instead of the Agricultural Commissioner, although by 2018 all cannabis cultivation will be regulated as agriculture. Previously, the Ad Hoc Committee stated concern about the Ag Department’s capacity to regulate an unknown number of larger grows. Many in public testimony stated their support for regulating all cultivation under the Ag Department, as did Supervisor Dan Hamburg and Chair Dan Gjerde, who noted the delay for a redrafted ordinance should allow adequate time for the Ag Department to increase capacity to administer the entire program.

Hamburg stated he also was concerned about ongoing raids on cannabis farms he did not feel were large enough to attract punitive action from the Major Crimes Task Force, and also expressed his support for permitting larger grows this season, particularly as neighboring Humboldt county is allowing cultivation on sites up to one acre. “I don’t know who controls the Task Force,” said Hamburg, noting he felt cultivators should not need to fear ongoing raids during this year’s season.

Woodhouse said he understood cultivators present were seeking to comply with regulations, but he didn’t know how to offer protection from enforcement on the part of the sheriff’s office. McCowan added the sheriff has the authority to enforce laws as he sees fit. “We’re not the ones who are going to be able to design a program that will protect someone from the sheriff,” he told the crowd.

Julia Carrera of the Small Farmers Association stated she felt a 25 plant limit would encourage small farmers to grow more plants than allowed to cover farming costs, and suggested having the sheriff’s department administer the program would allow revised permits to be available this year. No other public commenters supported the sheriff’s office administering the program.

Supervisors also heard a presentation from Ag Commissioner Chuck Morse on the development of a nursery program and presentation on potential “track and trace” programs being considered by the county.

The Ad Hoc Committee also discussed a range of other considerations for the revised cultivation ordinance, including permitting cottage licenses and at what scale, whether to allow multiple licenses on one parcel or for one property owner, indoor cultivation, research and testing facilities, plant count vs. square footage in permitted cultivation, what activities are appropriate for what zoning types, and allowing pre-existing cultivation on timber and forest resource protection lands. A discussion also occurred over whether to restrict cultivation in zones where “row and field” crops are permitted, and how to best include the coastal region in any new ordinance as additional approval is required from the Coastal Commission.

The full discussion, including attached documents and presentations, is available on the county website and video at


An urgency ordinance to ban outdoor marijuana gardens in Tehama County was adopted by the county’s Board of Supervisors on a 4-1 vote on March 3, 2015. The one variance to the all-out ban was decided by a 4-1 board consensus those who have already planted an outdoor marijuana garden this year and are in full compliance, to grow no more than 12 plants outdoors this year, effective April 1. Read more.

Tehama residents can apply for a permit to grow 12 plants outdoors if they do so by April 1, 2015 at the Environmental Health Dept. You need an appointment to apply but can call for more information at: (530) 527-8020.

On April 29, 2014 Tehama voted to increase the cost of medical marijuana garden registrations. Read more.

On April 16, 2014 the Tehama BOS voted to ban medical marijuana cultivation on vacant lots, and require yearly updates to registration of gardens. Read more. Contact Rancho Tehama EDC.

Tehama County Board of Supervisors has adopted Chapter 9.06 of county code that declares it a public nuisance for anyone cultivate over 12 plants on any parcel in the county. The Tehama ordinance bans any cultivation whatsoever within 1,000 ft of a school, and requires every landlord to register any Prop 215 garden with the Tehama County Health Services Agency. The ordinance allows hardship exemptions to a requirement that gardens be 100′ from property lines.

On February 6, 2013, the Third District Appellate Court ruled in favor of Tehama’s ordinance,after a challenge from Cal NORML.

On September 19, 2013, Tehama BOS granted two hardship exemptions to their ordinance;the sheriff pulled a third and 11 were denied.






On November 4, 2014 Butte County voters passed Measure A and rejected Measure B.Measure A’s more restrictive cultivation ordinance went into effect on January 8, 2015. Read more.

On December 9, 2014, the Butte BOS voted to approve $450,000 to enforce the new rules, educate the public about them, and make it easier to make complaints. The “Stay in the Box”campaign will educate about the ridiculous rule to keep plants inside a contiguous space, rather than using the scientific plant canopy to determine yield. Read CalNORML’s letter to the supervisors about “the box.”

1/12/2016 – Oroville >> The Butte County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved changes to the county’s medical marijuana cultivation ordinance Tuesday.

In introducing the changes, Chief Administrative Officer Paul Hahn said they were based on what staff learned in the first full year of enforcing the ordinance approved by voters in 2014 as Measure A.

“We’re not making what I believe to be major substantive changes,” Hahn said.

However, some of the 27 members of the public who addressed the board during the passionate, yet civil, 3-hour, 10-minute discussion suggested that more dramatic changes would be appropriate in light of new state laws.

The new laws create a new structure for the county to rely on that didn’t exist when the ordinance was first developed in 2014, said Jessica MacKenzie of the Inland Cannabis Farmers Association.

The three laws will enact a statewide framework to regulate the cultivation, processing and distribution of medical marijuana, while still allowing local jurisdictions the ability to add stricter regulations and maintain existing authority to impose taxes and fees. Regional water control boards are also passing rules regulating waste from marijuana grow sites.

The supervisors’ discussion stayed clear of sweeping changes based on the new state laws, although they did approve an item declaring that marijuana cultivation isn’t an agricultural operation under the county’s right to farm ordinance.

The new state law deems medical cannabis an agricultural commodity, but County Counsel Bruce Alpert noted the change was limited to specific sections of state law and not the food and agriculture code. Local jurisdictions still had the ability to regulate it within their boundaries, he said.

Alpert later said the change was being made out of an abundance of caution. Outside the meeting, he said there could be conflicts between the cultivation and the right to farm ordinances if marijuana was determined to fall under the right to farm.

The county’s right to farm rules limit circumstances when proper agricultural operations may be considered a nuisance under local regulations. The cultivation ordinance treats violations as public nuisances.

Chico-area Supervisor Maureen Kirk favored simply stating that marijuana didn’t fall under the right to farm. Ultimately, the board backed an amendment striking language that declared that marijuana wasn’t an agricultural commodity but kept the clause that cultivation wasn’t an agricultural operation.


The approved changes clarify some issues regarding allowable garden sizes, which vary based on lot size. Lots a half-acre and smaller are allowed to have a detached structure of 120 square feet, but officials want to clarify that the actual indoor garden is limited to 50 square feet.

Outdoor grows are allowed for larger properties — up to 50 square feet for lots between a half-acre to 5 acres, 100 square feet for lots between 5 to 10 acres and 150 square feet for parcels larger than 10 acres.

One of the changes makes clear people may have smaller grow areas for larger properties if they don’t have a sufficient number of doctor’s recommendations for larger gardens. Generally, at least one recommendation is needed for every 50 square feet of cultivation area.

Another change was intended to allow a resident to have one garden on a single premises, including if the premises included more than one contiguous lot.

Most of the changes were focused to combine the citation and nuisance abatement process into one. Now when a code enforcement officer gives a grower or landowner a 72-hour notice to abate, the person is subject to fines of $500 per day. That daily fine increases to $1,000 when a nuisance abatement hearing notice is posted.

The changes modify what code enforcement needs to prove at a hearing — officials will need to prove the violation existed when the hearing date was set instead of showing that the violation still existed.

Supervisors also approved allowing administrative penalties to be recovered through a lien process on an affected property. Previously, the county could recover administrative and abatement costs.


Several people asked how the fines would be assessed on rented properties, especially when a landowner may not receive timely notification of the notices or has trouble with a tenant.

Officials said development services director Tim Snellings has the ability to cancel a hearing or reduce fines if the nuisance was abated and the landowner acted in good faith. The landowner may also testify at a hearing about taking all reasonable actions if a tenant refuses to resolve the situation.

Several members of the public related their experiences with code enforcement during the past year. One said he received a citation even though he had sold the property six months prior.

Alex Lyons said officials cited him twice — one for a greenhouse and the second for improper fencing material. Saying he grew more than allowed so he could help friends and family, Lyons said there should be a better procedure and for the county to think of the patients involved.

Snellings and code enforcement supervisor Chris Jellison recapped enforcement actions over the past year where 1,489 complaints were received. About 67 percent of the cases were closed because the subject was either in compliance or came into compliance.

Jellison showed photos of several examples of violations, including oversized gardens, unpermitted greenhouses and dwellings, and improper electrical and sewer.

Snellings said 34,556 plants were destroyed because of compliance actions. He said people apparently rolled the dice with plants to see if officials would come out.

“This is sending a message that we wanted people to stay inside the box,” Snellings said.

Staff issued 894 citations, leading to $2.93 million in fines. Less than 6 percent of the fines had been collected. Snellings was working with collections on what could be done. While liens may be imposed on some, he said a lot of the fines may go unpaid.

What was paid, $171,175, helped offset the enforcement costs of $375,996. Actual costs were 57 percent of the budgeted $658,346.

Snellings said the costs included charges from the District Attorney’s Office. Hahn said there was no additional allocation for the Sheriff’s Office for Measure A enforcement.

Resident Mat Bacior was disappointed that complaints could be initiated by code enforcement or sheriff’s deputies going about their duties. He said it went against the original concept that the enforcement would be based off of neighbor complaints.

Attorney Charnel James urged the board to take the time to come up with a land-use solution that worked for everyone. She noted that the destroyed plants sent a message that thousands of people were going without medicine.

POSTED: 01/12/16, 8:57 PM PST



Currently there is a ban in this county


UPDATE 7/15: Sutter County’s Tough Pot Law Still Under Review

On Sept. 25, 2013 Sutter County passed the first reading of an ordinance that says marijuana may not be cultivated within 2,000 feet of any school, school bus stop, school evacuation site, church, park, child care center and youth-oriented facilities. On parcels less than one acre, the cultivation area must be set back at least 100 feet from each property line or must be cultivated in a detached, fully enclosed and secure structure that has a ventilation and filtration system. On parcels between 1 and 160 acres, the setback requirement is 500 feet. On parcels greater than 160 acres, the setback requirement is 1,000 feet. All gardens must be registered with the Development Services Department. Read more.

Information from CANORML



Sierra County passed a medical marijuana cultivation ordinance (Chapter 8.01) on July 22, 2014, which prohibits cultivation except for primary caregivers and personal consumption by qualified patients. Cultivation for personal use is limited to 18 plants, and primary caregivers are limited to 18 plants per patient. Each property is limited to 72 plants.

Cultivation cannot occur within 100 feet of a school. Outdoor cultivation must be positioned 10 feet from all property boundaries, and must be fully enclosed by a six foot opaque outdoor fence if visible from outside the property. Outdoor lights are prohibited.

Information from CANORML


The Nevada County Board of Supervisors in January voted 4-to-1 to implement an urgency ordinance that immediately prohibits outdoor marijuana grows and limits the number of indoor medicinal plants.

The board also voted 4-to-1 to place the issue on the June 7 ballot, giving county voters the option to uphold or discard that ordinance.

Next Board of Supervisors meeting is 4/26/2016


The Placer County Board of Supervisors approved the development of a comprehensive medical marijuana regulatory framework for the unincorporated areas of the county.

The board’s decision does not specify standards for the regulation of medical marijuana cultivation and distribution, but it does allow county staff to work with the community to begin to define what the regulation should look like.

“What we discussed today was putting in a placeholder legislation in January that would preserve our right of jurisdiction over what happens in Placer with regards to cultivation, land use, location, manufacturing – all of the components that come with medicinal marijuana use,” said District 1 Supervisor Jack Duran. “And provide us the opportunity after January to then really put the meat on the bones in crafting an ordinance that suits our needs for passage later in the year.”

The CANORML website also indicates that

On May 5, 2015, Placer county supervisors voted 4-1 not to enact a cultivation ban, but rather explore the matter further and wait and see what the state and the voters will do.

Placer County’s land use code disallows any “Medical marijuana collective, cooperative or dispensary” which includes a place where medical marijuana is cultivated, processed, distributed, made available, sold, traded, exchanged or bartered for in any way, with or without consideration. So while personal cultivation is not zoned out, any cultivation for others, absent a primary caregiver designation, would be.

Cal NORML recommends staying within the 6-plant guideline for personal gardens, not relying on bogus 99-plant notes to cover collective gardens, which need regulation at state level.

Police chiefs “adamantly oppose” Placer medical marijuana moves……….

El Dorado:

On March 15, 2016 the Board discussed MMRSA and the following were provided for review: 1. A – El Dorado County Summary of the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act 3-15-16, 2. B – Sheriff’s Office Reponse to MMRSA and Medical Marijuana 3-15-16, 3. C – HSSA Medical Marijuana Presentation 3-15-16, 4. D – Ag Department Med Marijuana Cultivation Presentation 3-15-16, 5. E – Legal Pest Management Practices 3-15-16, 6. F – Pest.Use.Marij 3-15-16, 7. G – Overview of the California Medical Marijuana Regulation and final 3-15-16, 8. H – Discussion with the Drug Free Coalition 3-15-16, 9. I – Public Health Analysis 3-15-16, 10. Public Comment Rcvd 3-15-16 BOS 3-15-16, 11. Public Comment Rcvd 3-15-16 BOS 3-15-16 (during the meeting), 12. Public Comment Rcvd 3-14-16 BOS 3-15-16

Since March 15, 2016, the Board has taken no action on MMRSA

South Lake Tahoe
On May 17, 2011, the City of South Lake Tahoe unanimously passed an ordinance “to require that medical marijuana be cultivated in appropriately secured, enclosed, and ventilated structures” in permitted residential structures only; “in compliance with the maximum dimensions permissible for the cultivation of medical marijuana” within 10% of the total residence square footage. Registration is required. Fines for violations start at $100/day and escalate to $500 with repeat offenses. Read the ordinance.


County – Presently, Sacramento County does not permit the operation of any marijuana dispensaries or marijuana-related businesses, and business licenses to operate these businesses are not available.

Information at Sacramento County

City At this time, the City of Sacramento is not accepting applications for medical marijuana dispensaries.

On February 2, 2016, the Sacramento City Council passed both an amendment to the Planning and Development Code (Title 17) to allow cultivation in specified industrial, agricultural, and commercial zones and a moratorium on cultivation.  On March 15, 2016 City Council extended the moratorium on cultivation for an additional 6 months, with the exception of indoor cultivation in residential zones and qualified existing cultivation operations that register with the City by the deadline of April 14, 2016.

For questions or to be added to our stakeholder e-mail distribution list, please contact Ranelle Kawasaki at (916) 808-1251 or by email at

West Sacramento

A step towards licensed distribution occurred on April 20, when the City of West Sacramento’s City Council voted to approve a municipal ordinance permitting cannabis distributors, and approved one distribution business to begin operations.

The business, known as River Wellness Collective, sought permission from the local authorities to begin developing a 17,000 square foot facility for cannabis distribution. The ordinance process begun April 6, at which point the city had no regulations permitting cannabis distribution businesses on the books. On April 20, council members heard a second reading of the proposed ordinance, and also approved distribution operations for River Wellness.

City Public Information Officer Paul Hosley said “no further action is needed by the city” for River to start conducting business, since the company previously received a business license and approval from the planning department. However, the ordinance won’t taken effect for 30 days, since a zoning change was included.

By Kate Maxwell,

For more information go to City of Sacramento











Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: